The Bullpen Sports Bar & Grill
Sedro-Woolley, located just 74 miles north of Seattle, has become a bedroom-community of commuters who travel the I-5 corridor to careers in larger cities. Sedro- Woolley’s rather isolated rural setting and evolving demographics have kept home prices affordable while, around the region, they increased. On downtown’s Metcalf Street, new restaurants such as Coconut Kenny’s pizzeria or revitalized and much-improved restaurants like The Bullpen Sports Bar & Grill are solid indicators of the city’s economic potential.
From the sidewalk, The Bullpen, an exceptional family restaurant in downtown Sedro Woolley, appears small. But once inside, customers discover a vast dining room and extensive bar. Sports is the entertainment focus here. With 13 high-definition flatscreen televisions, customers may simultaneously watch rugby, soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, or football while enjoying lunch or dinner with the family. In case the kids are not sports enthusiasts, there are numerous arcade games and a couple of pool tables.
The Bullpen’s full-service bar also offers many specialty cocktails, including The Purple Kick, a colorful combination of raspberry vodka, blueberry Red Bull and muddled lemon and lime that is sure to put a skip in your step. There are other craft cocktails, creative liquor shots, high-end scotch and whiskey options, wine, and a wide variety of beers. Ten taps rotate through a library of notable microbrews to satisfy Bullpen customers’ desire for the next new brew.
Restauranteur Tony Carter, a butcher by training, hand-selects quality meats and personally trims and portions each steak, roast, or chop. Carter’s meat-cutting career is a benefit to customers: Most restaurants order pre-trimmed, portioned and packaged meats. Tony’s expertise assures customers that they can, for example, rely on an exceptional New York steak or ribeye. Wednesday is beef-lover’s steak bonanza. From open to close a full steak dinner cooked to order, including any cut of house-prepped steak, potatoes and fresh vegetable, is a bargain at $9.99.
This casual, full-service restaurant also sports a menu of upscale and culturally diverse comfort food. Sushi chef Damien Chin is the Thursday night guest chef. Carter and executive chef Robert Ellis also collaborate to produce 15 different sandwiches ranging from $9.85 to $13.85. Scratch restaurants such as The Bullpen have greater control over food cost, which means they can provide customers with a better product at lower prices.
The Monday special is a $5 Burger Basket, a hefty sandwich for the price. The hand-shaped, house-seasoned burger is cooked either on the grill or under a char broiler — customer’s choice. Either way it’s stacked with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and mustard/mayo and served with a hearty portion of fries. The burger special is paired with a microbrew special of $4 a pint, so a guest can have a full meal for $10.
The Friday sandwich special takes days to prepare and is so popular regular customers place their orders in advance. The Bullpen’s Reuben sandwich, at $12, is the best you may ever encounter. Carter selects lean corned beef and marinades it in hard apple cider before slow-cooking it for 10 to 12 hours in more, even harder apple cider. The result is an amazingly tender, multi-flavored meat candy. The sandwich is statuesque — a foundation of thick-sliced marble rye with 16 ounces of the remarkable corned beef piled high and topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, a special house dressing, and served with shoestring fries. This behemoth sandwich is — quite easily — large enough to feed two adults, and may result in an adult-time nap after consumption.
On any given Friday, grab a companion head to The Bullpen and split this remarkable Reuben. Think about it: a flavorful, nearly two-pound sandwich that feeds two people for $6 each. You’ll have that much more to spend on beer and cocktails while taking in the game. Seriously, what’s not to like?
Carter’s objective with The Bullpen is to create a contemporary, restaurant with an exceptional menu and a top-rate bar program. The environment is meant to help guests relax and spend time with their family and friends while enjoying exceptional food at affordable prices.
The Bullpen Sports Bar and Grill’s impact on the downtown business core in Sedro-Woolley has increased afternoon and evening customer traffic — and that’s a good thing. The health of the hospitality industry, restaurants included, has long been an indicator of economic stability. Progressive restaurants such as The Bullpen offer long-established residents and their new neighbors a greater variety of dining options worth seeking out.